Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Yuck 'n Yum - We need your Karaoke videos and other things‏

Dear Yuck 'n Yummers,

Its that time again the AGK is here, plus other dates and events you might be interested in.  We are now taking submissions for our fourth AGK Deadline 14th of October ; the Autumn issue submission deadline 23rd of August; and Impact Residency exhibition 28th of August. Get your diaries out and write down these dates. We really hope to see you at the Impact Residency exhibition and please SEND US YOUR KARAOKE VIDEOS.

1 - The Annual General Karaoke 4 announced /// Deadline 14th October 2013

AGK 2013 TEASER 2 from yucknyum on Vimeo.

There’s a rumble in the distance… small children are running away terrified… some old folks are saying that must mean the AGK is coming… we need to show courage and we need some crazy ideas…


Since 2010 the AGK has attracted the brightest and best artists from across Scotland and beyond, all competing for the coveted prize. It’s a karaoke night where YOU make the videos. Its a karaoke video competition! Some of you will just want to make a simple, beautiful video and perform it by yourself. Others might have high concept ideas, direct a spectacular CGI fest and choreograph a team of performers around it. Some will be shy and just want to make a video that is so tremendous it will have the audience fighting over the right to sing it. The AGK has room for them all!


We’re delighted to announce that this year we’re teaming up with NEoN, and the AGK will be part of the 2013 NEoN festival. The AGK will be held in Dundee on Saturday the 9th of November, and we need your video by October 21st at the latest.


The AGK champ gets all the fame and glory, and they get £300 too. Yes three whole hundred pounds! A whole £50 more than You’ve Been Framed offers for mistreating animals or children on video! More prizes will also be up for grabs, so watch this space.
Even if you're still feeling shy of ideas, don't fret! The AGK Archive has all the incredible videos from the last three years! Have all your queries answered at our AGK Helpdesk on Facebook! Check for regular updates on Twitter! We'll be all over the interwebs with 2013's most essential event: the AGK!

2 - Autumn issue submission deadline fast approaching /// 23rd of August 2013

The deadline for submission to the Autumn issue of YnY is Friday the 23rd of August. As always, we very much look forward to receiving your submissions. We've added a wee reminder of 'How to submit' , so please cast your eye over this before pressing send.

Yuck 'n Yum are hosting our Autumn 2013 edition launch in Aberdeen, watch this space for further details!

3 - Proof: An exhibition by Beatrice Haines/// 28th of August - 1st of September 2013

Yuck 'n Yum and the Hannah Maclure Centre are pleased to announce Proof the upcoming exhibition by Beatrice Haines the artist who was selected for our Impact Residency.  The exhibition will take place during the inaugural Print Festival Scotland which is part of Impact8 International Printmaking Conference, held this year in Dundee.

Beatrice has spent time in the Abertay forensic science lab and the print studio at Dundee Contemporary Arts to produce the works which will be on display in Proof.

Image from Laboratory exploration courtesy the artist

Each piece of work will be produced using materials commonly used in forensics. The exhibition aims to reveal the invisible, whether it be minute detail too small for the human eye or prints left from the surface of skin.

Open Wednesday 28th August – Monday 2nd September 2013

Week days: 10am – 5pm
Weekend: 12pm-4pm

Special event (as part of art crawl) on Friday 30th August 2013

Hannah Maclure Centre
Top Floor Student Centre
University of Abertay Dundee
1-3 Bell Street
T: 01382 308324
E: exhibitions@abertay.ac.uk


Hope to see you there!

Love from the Yuck 'n Yum team

Monday, 29 July 2013

DC's - Roger's Profanisaurus Day

Very proud to announce that today I host a day on Dennis Cooper's blog, dedicated to the hallowed Roger's Profanisaurus: LINK

Sunday, 28 July 2013


Bought a few items: 

Wayne Koestenbaum - My 1980s and Other Essays (Farrar Straus Giroux), £9.99

Models (Kimstim Collection) DVD, £9.84

M+M - M+M Theme (Let's Pet Puppies) 12", £9.99

Thursday, 25 July 2013

John Richmond - Destroy


John Richmond is an English fashion designer based in Italy, he was born in Manchester in 1960 and moved to London, then eventually to Milan to pursue his dreams.

He graduated in fashion design from Kingston University in 1982, and straight away designed his own collection under his own name, while collaborating with such brands as Armani, Joseph Tricot and Fiorucci.

In 1984 he formed the The Richmond-Cornejo label with Ravensbourne graduate Maria Cornejo. Since 1987, Richmond has worked under his own name producing three lines, the main line: John Richmond, second line: Richmond X, and the denim line: Richmond Denim.

Who is John Richmond?

To put it simply, John Richmond is the iconic designer who fused elements of biker chic, street smarts and rock music with the classic elements of haute couture to create his own unique style. Through his keen eye, his masterful tailoring, and his impeccable attention to detail, he has made himself a breed apart from the other fashion designers who are trying to make a name for themselves by being edgy.

The slogan “Destroy, Disorientate, Disorder” was an invention created for John Richmond’s Destroy collection, which was introduced in 1990. It was soon followed by Destroy Denim in 1991. His first boutique in London opened in 1992.

In the 80s, whilst the International, big gun brands Versace and Calvin Klein were dressing money happy, rocked out yuppies ( the kind that wouldn’t look out of place in a Bret Easton Ellis novel)  in designer attire, in Britain it was designer John Richmond feeding the younger, style hungry consumer. Although Richmond was acknowledging that on this side of the pond, this type of customer was more street savvy and wanted to channel a rebellious look that would match their record collections. Whilst celebrity endorsement from Madonna, Mick Jagger and even Alice Cooper kept his mainline on the barometer, Richmond was passionate about keeping tabs on his younger customers, the ones well-versed in the club and street culture he wanted his clothes to be a part of.

In 1987, the designer made sure he hit his desired audience and launched Destroy, a diffusion line  consisting of t-shirts and jeans that came in at a far more affordable price range compared to his pricey mainline. The first collection was all about the more for way of thinking and the denim came in packs of eight with t-shirts and jackets that offered a different look to his popular, expensive leathers.  Word got out to packs of cool kids across Britain and in no time, Destroy matched the John Richmond label in popularity. Naturally, America’s MTV generation heard news of this cutting edge, Brit label and along with the rest of Europe made sure it hit stores near them.

With all this diversity on offer, Destroy became just as popular as his core label and it soon became all about having to differentiate the two as separate brands. At the time this was retail breakthrough, who knew the cheaper version could sell as well the expensive, hand-made one? With designer diffusions and celebrity brands all available on the high street these days, you could say it was Richmond’s tactics that helped pave the way in making high fashion all the more accessible.
Al Mulhall

When it comes to being a mixture of energy, creativity and unpredictable street culture, John Richmond, an English Fashion Designer, has it down to a T. Completing his studies at Kingston University, Richmond then went on to become a freelance designer for Emporio Armani, before first forming his label Richmond-Cornejo, a collaboration with designer Maria Cornejo in 1984. The designer may not be well known yet in the United States, but his brand of rock-and-roll influenced sportswear has a considerable presence in Europe. Striking out on his own in 1987, Richmond launched Destroy, a fashion line consisting of affordable t-shirts and jeans. His vision has taken on a lot more flash since the eighties, when he was based in London and designed with Cornejo.

The rock-loving designer has put his own spin on country classics like equestrian boots and city staples like leather jackets and jeans. Every collection is heavily influenced by music and blended with the designer’s own personal style. The fusion of “street chic” formed a fundamental part in the label’s philosophy that can be summed up in the brand’s slogan “Destroy, Disorientate, Disorder.” The first collection was all about giving “more.” The denim came in packs of eight with t-shirts and jackets that offered a different look to his expensive leathers. The word spread across Britain, and quickly Destroy matched the John Richmond label in popularity.
Anjelica Duggins

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Yuck 'n Yum AGK 2013 Teaser 2.


Yuck ‘n Yum are delighted to announce that the fourth Annual General Karaoke will be held in Dundee on Saturday November 9th 2013. We are proud to be part of this years NEoN Digital Arts Festival.

What’s the AGK? You must have been living under a rock!

OK listen up and listen up good: it’s a karaoke night where YOU make the videos. Be as wild and crazy as you wanna be. You might sing along yourself, or a friend could take to the stage and give the performance of a lifetime. Anything could happen. It’s a karaoke video competition!

Want to submit a video? The deadline is October 14th (or pay £10 to submit after the14th but before the 21st!) and the winner gets £300!

For full details on how to submit your video, handy tips and all the latest up to date AGK news visit agk.yucknyum.com

Friday, 19 July 2013

Sister Corita Kent - There Will Be New Rules Next Week @ DCA 19.07.13 - pictures

To the DCA this evening for the opening of a show of works by Sister Corita Kent, an artist, illustrator and educator who worked in Los Angeles and Boston. Her screenprints are presented alongside contemporary work by Peter Davies, Ruth Ewan, Emily Floyd, Scott Myles and Ciara Phillips. I took a few photos and here they are:

The name of the show is There Will Be New Rules Next Week

Peter Davies holds forth before The Redundancy of Ideology

 Emily Floyd - Nomadic Shepherds

 Ciara Phillips - A Lot Of Things Put Together


Sisters of Mercy - Alice

One of England's leading goth bands of the 1980s, the Sisters of Mercy play a slow, gloomy, ponderous hybrid of metal and psychedelia, often incorporating dance beats; the one constant in the band's career has been deep-voiced singer Andrew Eldritch.
Steve Huey

Evergreen goth dancefloor killer. " Alice " is the Sister's best known song , also their best executed one.
Alice came out in 1982 not like a HIT but rather like a statement!
The British New Wave movement had then a darker voice ,a deeper depth ,a broader ambition ! 

Sisters of Mercy, along with The Mission, are among the first bands that people think of when the ‘G’ word comes up; this has as a lot to do with their command of goth imagery, which quickly led to them becoming one of the most visible goth “brands” (I can only imagine how much SoM merchandise has been sold over the past thirty years). Though the majority of their recorded output is wretched, in their early years SoM were pretty compelling, combining the primality of metal with the polysexual pulsation of what would come to be known as EBM; their finest creation in this vein was the dark-wave floor-filler ‘Alice’.
Kiran Sande

To fully appreciate The Sisters of Mercy’s impact, it’s important to consider the worth of the single release. In terms of pop culture and in an age of downloads and a la carte music consumption, the worth of the single has plummeted in much the same way the value of sterling has fallen against the dollar. Back in 1982, when 'Body Electric' crawled fully formed from the darkest recesses of Yorkshire, the independent single was as much a communiqué and statement of intent as it was a little object of desire that involuntarily caused your feet and hips – and especially in the case of The Sisters, the elbows - to move. Held within the grooves and the three-to-five minute running time, independent singles were arguably a more self-contained universe that reflected the times, sartorial mores, politics and culture of the time than their major label peers ever could. But The Sisters of Mercy did more than that. In the space of their six independent releases, the band shaped fashion, sound and language in an image entirely of their own making with scant regard for approval from the wider world.

Indeed, it’s with their third single, 'Alice', where The Sisters of Mercy finally hit their stride. Opening with Doktor Avalanche’s idiosyncratic beats – beats that were to become as instantly recognisable as John Bonham’s intro to Led Zeppelin’s 'Rock ’n’ Roll' – the track gives way to beautifully twisting guitars and Adams’ driving, droning and single-minded bass playing. The flipside, 'Floorshow', was every bit the equal of the parent track. Powerful in its simplicity, Eldritch’s attack on the pop values of the day was as damning as it was compelling on the dance floor. In retrospect, their reading of The Stooges’ '1969' is a little to obvious but for a generation still to discover the delights of Iggy Pop, the track served as a gateway to world that was seriously at odds with the prevailing view of the 1960s as being little more than a hotchpotch of paisley, pot and patchouli. 
Julian Marszalek

First heard on a John Peel/BBC radio session in September 1982, "Alice" was released as the Sisters of Mercy's third single two months later. Constructed around the merciless metronome of drum machine Doktor Avalanche and a darkly spiraling guitar line, "Alice" was recorded with the Psychedelic Furs' John Ashton in the producer's chair -- after two self-produced, self-recorded 45s, it emerged the band's most conventional sounding single yet: Melody! Chorus! Intelligible lyrics!

It remains one of their most intriguing releases. The lyrics are a wealth of ambiguities, shot through with knowing references to sex, drugs, and Tarot -- Alice herself is a person who will do whatever is necessary to make reality appear bearable, to "promise her a definition." It remains a firm fan favorite.  
Dave Thompson

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Yuck 'n Yum Annual General Karaoke 2013 – Submissions open!


Yuck ‘n Yum are delighted to announce that the fourth Annual General Karaoke will be held in Dundee on Saturday 9th of November 2013 as part of the NEoN festival.

What’s the AGK? You must have been living under a rock!

OK listen up and listen up good: it’s a karaoke night where YOU make the videos. You might sing along yourself, or a friend could take the stage and give the performance of a lifetime. Anything can happen. It’s a karaoke video competition!

Want to submit a karaoke video? The free deadline is October 14th, slackers get until October 21st but pay a tenner, and the AGK champ gets £300!

For full details on how to submit your video, handy tips and for all the latest up to date AGK news visit agk.yucknyum.com

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Yuck 'n Yum AGK 2013

Hold onto your hats and/or asses: the AGK is coming!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Yuck ‘n Yum news bulletin

Yuck ‘n Yum have returned from their self-imposed exile at Cove Park, full of plans and an unearthly natural glow that might be “health” (something our friends outside Dundee assure us exists).

 Old-timers Andrew Maclean and Gayle Meikle have finished their sabbaticals and have returned to corporeal form. They’ve gained some metaphysical new powers, and are already imparting their newfound wisdom. Alexandra Ross remains on hiatus while she finishes her PhD. Sadly, newby Dan Faichney has flown the nest to follow his dreams and pursue his career at DCA. We wish him all the best – adieu, sweet pal.

In other news, there’s a commotion on the horizon… amidst the babble of dæmoniac voices, three intelligible letters alone seem to be reverberating nearer: “A… G… K…”
Could it be time to prepare for that bizarre karaocchanalia again? All we can do is wait on the soon-to-be-announced press release…

Finally, a-n have included us in their publication Signpost’s “Hot 100″ list. We’re happy to see some of our friends in there too. Check it out here.

Sunday, 14 July 2013


Bought a few items:

Peter Sotos - Mine (Nine-Banded Books), $20

Stefan Blomeier ‎– Unexpected Journey (Lux Rec) 12", £9

Marina Rosenfeld - P.A./Hard Love (Room40) LP, £13.99

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Night Train Murders

L'ultimo treno della notte (also known as Night Train Murders, The New House on The Left, Second House on The Left, Don't Ride on Late Night Trains, Last Stop on the Night Train, Late Night Trains, Last House Part II and Xmas Massacre) is a 1975 Italian revenge thriller. It was directed by Aldo Lado, scored by Ennio Morricone and stars Flavio Bucci, Macha Meril and Irene Miracle. It gained notoriety when it was banned in the UK as a video nasty in the 1980s.

incredibly powerful remake of The Virgin Spring set on an Italy-bound train from Munich; director Aldo Lado delivers a far more satisfying, artful, coherent, plausible, darker, faster-paced experience than Wes Craven's inferior Last House On The Left
William Bennett

Two young girls travel by train at Christmas time, little knowing it will be a ride filled with horror.

Aldo Lado's Night Train Murders is at times very difficult to digest. As with most Italian movies of this period, the film takes a while to get started, with many fill up scenes that aren't of much interest but once it gets going the film makes a strong impact. The scene where the two girls get molested is a pretty tough viewing experience. Lado stretches the scene to almost unbearable length, displaying such inhuman and immoral tendencies you can't help but be disgusted. The final violent confrontation between the distraught father and the violators becomes not only justifiable but wholly satisfactory.

The film's intercutting between the normal goings on in the lives of the father and mother of one of the girls and what's happening to them on board the train makes a strong impact as well. Lado is purposely trying his best to make the events even more unbearable and sad and it works very well. The script is also philosophical to some extent, displaying grounded ideas about the human nature and it's incapability of letting go of some it's animal instincts and it's refusal to be controlled. An immoral and inhuman tendency cannot be distinguished easily and it's visual display here comes from the socialite who's actually the worst of the violators while the two punks are more visible just by how they look and act (not to mention the one who becomes involved but is also the most "moral" one as he contributes to the end justice).

While not an intellectual powerhouse the film does boast some very strong visuals and hugely effective scenes of the worst mankind has to offer. It makes an impact, but it's not very enjoyable to watch.
Bjorn (ODDBear)

Night Train Murders opens on Christmas Eve in Germany, as two friends (Irene Miracle and Marina Berti) excitedly prepare for a train ride back to Italy for the holidays, while two small-time crooks (Flavio Bucci and Gianfranco De Grassi) pick pockets and shake down a drunk Santa for pocket change. The two parties meet when the crooks flee the cops, jump the train, and hide away in Miracle and Berti’s cabin as the ticket-ticker makes his rounds. The men are initially crude and coarse with the women, but their torment amplifies into sadism and rape when another passenger, a well-mannered, classy-seeming blonde played by Macha Méril, joins the action. Meanwhile, Miracle’s parents wait at home until the train comes in, and are forced into action when they discover what happened on the trip.

Some of Lado’s touches are inexplicable, like his frequent abuse of zoom lenses to focus on some unimportant detail—an extra feeding ducks, say—and others are more inspired, like repeating a phrase in Ennio Morricone’s score through a villain’s harmonica, an echo of Charles Bronson in Once Upon A Time In The West. But between the tiresome cross-cutting between the vicious (yet oddly non-explicit) torture on the train and the dead scenes of the parents waiting, waiting, waiting for the women to arrive, it’s Méril that stands out. Where Craven was content to tar the perpetrators as drug-addled counterculture wastoids, Night Train Murders lays the truly depraved acts at Méril’s feet, suggesting that she, as a member of polite society, can slip the noose while her lowlife companions take the heat. The real loser here, however, is The Last House On The Left, which faces the double indignity of being ripped off and critiqued by the same movie.
Scott Tobias

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Cathy Wilkes - Our Misfortune

Our Misfortune, 2001
Fabric collage, wood parts, tables
Dimensions Variable

Cathy Wilkes (born 1966) is an artist from Northern Ireland, who creates video installations. She is a 2008 Turner Prize nominee.

Cathy Wilkes was born in Belfast. She attended Glasgow School of Art 1985–1988, and took an MFA at the University of Ulster 1991–1992. She was a Fine Art sculpture tutor at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design 1996–2000.

Wilkes lives and works in Glasgow.

Our Misfortune 2001 (detail)
Fabric collage, wood parts, tables
Dimensions Variable

The first sign that, for Cathy Wilkes's solo show, we are in the realm of the poetic and spatial rather than that of time and narrative, is the lack of dates for the exhibition. "July" is all the poster says; "throughout July" whispers the press release. It's a hint that we should leave conventional ways of marking time and describing experience at the gallery door.

More than half of the gallery isn't in use. On one side of the room sits an assortment of distressed-looking tables, a battered old camp bed and some small, peaceful paintings. An area of flooring has been cut away to reveal floorboards, gouged in places, scribbled on. It could be the corner of a musty old junk shop.

Gradually, the logic of the installation begins to reveal itself, emotionally rather than intellectually. The cut-away floor is some kind of stage - you know that only because you have a should-I-stand-on-it moment of self-doubt. The floor is inscribed with its own history, layers of it, unfathomable to us now: markings to do with past exhibitions, measurements for things we can no longer see.

The furniture is cheap, tatty, its veneers peeling away, snapped off in places, hinting at another history. To these forlorn-looking items Wilkes has added enigmatic touches: simple metal structures and faces made from cutout bits of paper adorned with tiny scraps of felt. The style of these faces nods to Picasso (the eyes are like jigsaw pieces, the ears like musical notes), and they are elegiac in mood. The paintings have as layered a surface as the wooden furniture, but are embellished with pie charts and symbols that look as if they are from the periodic table. One simply says "our misfortune" and it's hard to resist seeing this as a key to the whole exhibition - a mourning for the passing of time, the melancholy of loss. On the camp bed, a cracked board is marked by lettering we can no longer read, and a tie sticks out from beneath it. Suicide, you can't help thinking, but you don't know why. Richly suggestive, elliptical, and movingly understated, Wilkes's work makes you feel time, see mood, touch space.


Our Misfortune 2001 (detail)
Fabric collage, wood parts, tables
Dimensions Variable

In July 2001 I invited Cathy Wilkes to make a show at Cubitt Gallery, London. Cathy had recently completed a solo show at Transmission Gallery, Glasgow and - as she often does - proposed remodelling the piece for the Cubitt space. 'Our Misfortune' opened in London on 30 September 2001.

I had always thought that to present Cathy's work at this time in London was charged with a certain resonance. Her sensibility and working methods were distinct from the plethora of slick and poppy sculpture and painting that had followed so naturally the brittle sophistication of London art production in the late 1990s. At this very particular time - so soon after the events of September 11th - the downbeat tone and autumnal melancholy of 'Our Misfortune' chimed with the prevailing mood of shock and confusion. A reappraisal of a value system shot - if only temporarily - to pieces.

Our Misfortune consists of an arrangement of found and made objects: folding card tables, their tops cracked and peeling; a rusting sun lounger; several small, almost monochrome paintings; and one colourful abstract/geometric figurative painting. The tables carry small hand-crafted wooden sculptures: little broken wooden armatures that end bluntly and barely manage to stand up, a rectangular box shape and a collapsed wooden frame limply measure space. On one table a fabric collage manages to conjure a piece of nougat, a jigsaw puzzle and a face. The sun lounger sports a gentleman's tie decorated with a cubist Picassoesque pattern.
Polly Staple

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Yuck 'n Yum - getting it together in the country - pictures

To Cove Park with the Yuck 'n Yum team to work on future plans for the collective whilst taking in the serenity of our surroundings. I took a few photos and here they are:

Your correspondent with some local scenery

Morgan, Becca and Gayle talk strategy

Local wildlife looks on


Thursday, 4 July 2013

Paul Thek - newspaper paintings

Diver, 1969–1970

Paul Thek (November 2, 1933 - August 10, 1988) was an American painter and, later, sculptor and installation artist. Born in Brooklyn, he studied locally, at the Art Students League and the Pratt Institute. In 1951 he entered the Cooper Union.

Although Thek began as a painter, he became known later in life for his sculptures and installations. Notable works include Technological Reliquaries (1964–67), a series of wax sculptures of human body parts, and The Tomb, a bright pink pyramid installation or "environment", which was badly damaged in 1981 but is documented in Edwin Klein's black and white photographs. Today his work may be seen in numerous collections, including that of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Thek, who was bisexual, died of AIDS related illness in New York City in 1988, aged 54.

Untitled (Earth Drawing I), c. 1974

Thek’s use of newspaper in his installations and as a drawing support began in 1969 and was a recurring element of his work until his death in 1988. The dates and types of newspaper reflect where he was living. During the mid-1970s Thek typically isolated a single image (i.e. dinosaur, ‘hot’ potato or dish of prunes) against an opaque ground of color painted on pages of the International Herald Tribune. The newspaper works of the early 1980s are more abstract, allover in their composition, and diverse in color. In these works, painted on pages of The New York Times, Thek increasingly allowed transparency to reveal articles of interest.
Ariel Phillips

Red Turtle, c. 1974

Thek was throughout his career a prolific and occasionally brilliant painter and draftsman. When he returned to New York in 1979 after his peripatetic years in Europe, he focused on small painted works, primarily on his preferred support of newspaper, often installing them low on the wall in dime-store frames with elementary-school desk chairs in front of them, as if to suggest the ideal viewer for these exuberantly colored and deeply sentimental works. (Thek, one might argue, was always creating for a future audience rather than the one at hand.) If his loose and mannered amateurism resonated with the expressionist revival of painting in the 1980s, the overall modesty of scale and subject matter in his works provides a welcome riposte to the more grandiose aspects of that moment of postmodern painting. In his contribution to Artist’s Artist, Kenny Schachter perceptively identifies how Thek’s newspaper paintings partake in the underlying motif of decay within the artist’s oeuvre, aligning them with the meat pieces (a relationship further emphasized by Thek’s penchant for framing many newspaper paintings in Plexiglas). The exhibition makes a surprisingly strong claim for Thek as a painter, and perhaps it is in these works—which seem in many ways the least influential and celebrated of his oeuvre, but demonstrate most clearly such central themes as imagination, ephemerality, and marginality—that the essence of Thek’s artistic achievement can be best recognized.
Robert Slifkin

Grapes, 1974-5

The newspaper works of Paul Thek, which began in earnest in late 1960's and continued unabated until his death in 1988, had a narrative arc defined by an idiosyncratic expression of hope and beauty, and ended in a more ambiguous state of disillusionment. They are narrative parables sharing as much with literature, history and religion as with the history of art. The early newspaper works at times resemble visceral children's illustrations depicting Thek's inimitable ideals of happiness and love with an eternal quality above and apart from the material world. Though he exhorted to "Fall in love with your life" in note pad musings, within the same page of unbridled optimism were signs of tragedy and torment, "We're all crying children together".

Though the newspaper works appeared random and at times resembled writing more than drawing, as a whole they constituted a visual diary and travelogue. There was an ascetic quality to the systematic way in which Thek recorded his life continually over the entire course of his career. You can practically hear the silence, the meditative nature of the process of the making of the newspaper works but they are also imbued with the quality of sheet music that reverberates off the page. In Thek's work no subject evaded his mockery, mirth and empathy, a touch that managed to be both cynical and idealistic. Like fully formed pages from an oversized sketchbook, the newspaper works could appear classical, cartoonish, or like thought-bubbles, there was no telling. There were grapes on vines, potatoes, seascapes, landscapes, garden dwarfs, snakes, dinosaurs, hammers and sickles, and the Statute of Liberty—the whimsical and the lighthearted, but there was always more to be read. They offered an uncensored snapshot of Thek's mind's eye. These works were possessed of a many layered, philosophical, and ageless conceptual delicacy—a traditional conception of beauty in the hopeful, transcendent sense of the word. Not indulgent, self-congratulatory, or clichéd but celebratory and all embracing. On-its-sleeve emotional, and romantic nevertheless.

Near the end, Thek purposefully abandoned the refinement and representational insight of his earlier works reflecting his physical and emotional state, afflicted by an incurable, stigmatized disease and career neglect in his homeland. In the last newspaper works, gone are the childlike exuberance and celebration of nature, replaced by a duller form of abstractionism, signifying loss of love, innocence, and life. His version of Yankee enthusiasm, cheerfulness and energy, which remained throughout his sojourn in Europe, were hardheartedly quelled. After a shortened but fertile lifetime of unstoppable invention, Thek became a curmudgeon scarred by disregard and inattention. Even though he was cut down prematurely, Thek still managed to produce astounding, prescient and unparalleled work in every conceivable medium. The breadth of the newspaper works alone reflect a military discipline and self-control hardly seen during the time, and rarely so today. Thek's was a restless and relentless pursuit only now being taken seriously into consideration in relation to art before and after. Like Tonio Kroger, Thek resembled the character in the novella by Thomas Mann, with his nose firmly and forlornly pressed against the wrong side of the window of a big party where everyone is frolicking, singing, dancing (and making more money), but during his lifetime, he would always remain on the outside, uninvited.
Kenny Schachter

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Yuck 'n Yum - Head to head at Cove Park

This coming weekend the Yuck ‘n Yum team will be heading to Cove Park for a two day intensive head to head.  The team will be working on future plans for the collective whilst taking in the serenity of their surroundings.  We will be posting updates online as and when we can through the usual channels.

Cove Park is a residency space that actively responds to the diversity of contemporary artistic practice in all the art forms, whether performing or visual arts, crafts, literature or music. Their interdisciplinary programmes, for both individuals and collaborating groups, offer time, space and freedom to make new work and to find new ways of working. For more information about Cove Park please visit here.